Lucky Late Bloomers? The Consequences of Early Marriage for Women in Western Kenya

32 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2015  

Joan Hicks

University of California, Berkeley - Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA)

Daniel L. Hicks

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 23, 2015

Abstract

We examine the impact of early marriage across a wide range of outcomes for women in rural western Kenya. The timing of physical maturation in girls has been shown to influence marriage timing in a quasi-random manner, and we find that each additional year that menarche is delayed is associated with an increase of 0.25 years in age at first marriage. Using age of menarche as an instrument for marital age, we show that delayed marriage increases female educational attainment, some academic test scores, and self-reported measures of health. At the same time, age of marriage appears to have little direct effect on many other important life outcomes including labor market participation, earnings, attitudes and beliefs, marriage market outcomes, and child health.

Keywords: Marriage, gender, education, labor market

JEL Classification: J12, J16, I25, I15, O12

Suggested Citation

Hicks, Joan and Hicks, Daniel L., Lucky Late Bloomers? The Consequences of Early Marriage for Women in Western Kenya (June 23, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2622189 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2622189

Joan Hicks

University of California, Berkeley - Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) ( email )

207 Giannini Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-3310
United States

Daniel Lee Hicks (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics ( email )

729 Elm Avenue
Norman, OK 73019-2103
United States

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